Conservation tip: fuel efficiency advice from the clinically insane

Written by adam

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This is a driving competition we can behind. Mother Jones reports on hypermilers, mileage-obsessed drivers who can squeeze 180 mpg out of their hybrids by, well, breaking every traffic and safety law on record.

Their hero is Wayne Gerdes, the man who wears the current Most Fuel-Efficient Driver in the World crown. Wayne is…a little eccentric. One of his secret weapons, for example, is his “ice vest,” a device that needs for his work in a nuclear power plant. The ice vest allows him to stay cool even as he rides around on humid summer days with the air conditioner off and the windows rolled up.

Wayne’s tendencies run in the family — his dad has written down his mileage from every gallon of gas for the last 50 years — but it was the purchase of a vehicle with a fuel consumption device (FCD) that truly ignited Wayne’s passion.

If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently. “If the EPA would mandate FCDs in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in — 10 to 20 bucks — and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”

Wayne’s a dreamer. He’s also curiously monomaniacal. One of the more discordant aspects of the article is that Wayne owns the largest flat-screen TV the author has “ever seen outside of a sports bar,” which alone is probably responsible for more carbon emissions than his driving.

But global warming isn’t Wayne’s bag. He’s concerned about energy security, and since his electricity probably comes from coal or — more likely, given his job — nuclear energy, the TV is mostly a nice way to unwind after a day of drafting behind semis with the engine off or taking exit ramps at 50 miles per hour.

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2 Comments

  1. John

    Wanna save energy? I’ll bet you don’t! I’ll bet you wanna be a hipster and *feel* like you are doing something. Ya probably really digg tofu.
    I live 3 miles from work, on purpose…I had the job before I had the house. I ride my bike 30 percent of the time( and get really weird looks), walk 5 percent of the time and drive a manual 1992 Toyota Paseo that gets 38 (40+ freeway) in town. I buy my groceries once a week (unless I forget something). I don’t turn my central air on at home unless its really hot. I turn off my lights when I’m not in the room. I don’t turn the heat up high in the winter. I live in an appropriately sized home (read small) I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t create much waste. I don’t preach, have bumper stickers, flip off SUV drivers, drive some fancy hybrid car thats full of batteries (although not a bad thing… I bet my paseo is right up there without the prestige… or the batteries…hey energy isn’t free… gotta plug that sucker in..cuz like… I don’t care what ya think about me). I own a 1994 F150 that I drive about 400 miles a year to haul loads and such. I don’t stand out in the least. I don’t have a display in my car (though I wouldn’t mind…kinda cool) because it would be silly to try to gain a couple of miles on my 3 mile trek.
    If you are serious enough to post then you should be serious enough to rethink your lifestyle. If that means moving, move. If that means downsizing, then downsize. If that means that you can’t park your hybrid in front of your 5000sqft ranch with two giant CA’s out back… well do it. And I mean, buy a few fluorescent bulbs already.
    If you are just so-so’n it… well thats cool. And I appreciate it and I personally thank you…it all adds up. But, just consider that getting 50 in a hybrid isn’t going to save the world. You probably wouldn’t be caught dead in my Paseo (I think its cool lookin 🙂 And you probably wouldn’t live in my house.
    Being an ass and breaking laws should land you in jail. I hope you don’t kill anyone. I really hope you don’t kill a family and kids in a van that stops at stop signs. I kinda do hope you get butt raped.
    I personally go for tire wear. I want my tires to last 100,000 miles… and if that means hitting the rare cat, well so be it…Roads are for cars, not cats! I gotta get that 100,000. Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands.
    Guy’s got a mental disorder 🙂
    Take it easy and don’t bend over,
    John

  2. John

    Oh yeah… Please try to limit purchasing products made in China, Korea, Mexico and any country where they do not pay a decent working wage. If China has its way, we well all live in poverty. Wages even out. If you buy stuff that was made by a person that makes 63 cents an hour, then you will one day make 63 cents an hour (Thereabouts) Concentrate on America, Canada, Japan, Europe. I more concerned with our lives and freedom than a few Co2’s.
    And just so we are all on the same page. If our economy collapses, pollution will dramatically increase throughout the world. China has no controls and is horribly polluted. Cancer rates are very high there.
    Not to mention, stale bread and water will be hard to come by. That will get you and me well before the Co2’s.
    I just thought about it, I’ll make a website…
    wecantletthishappen.com
    I’ll never profit from it.
    Free stickers and free tshirts at my cost.
    This is serious,
    John